How much will a solar electricity system cost me?
This depends on your household electricity consumption and when you use (or can use) your electricity. Guild & Spence Solar provide bespoke solar systems designed to align with your household consumption patterns. Our smallest residential systems start from $6,500.
What is the difference between grid-tied and off-grid solar electricity systems?
Grid-tied means your solar system is tied to your local utility’s GRID. Being off-grid means you are not connected in any way to your grid’s power system or utility company. With a grid-tied solar system your home is still connected to the grid but will utilise the solar electricity when it is being generated (during the day) before importing it from the grid.
An off-grid system relies solely on solar generated electricity which is either used in the house at the time of generation or stored in the batteries for night time or rainy day electricity usage.
I want to go completely off the grid, can I do that?
Yes you can, but if you are already connected to the grid or if the cost to get grid connection is less than $20,000 then this is not generally recommended. An off-grid solution is expensive due to the large battery banks and componentry that are required to run a ‘typical’ household completely off the grid. A generator for back-up power during long periods of low light weather is also recommended.
How long will my solar electricity system last for?
Our solar systems are designed to last for at least 20 years. Our panel manufactures warranty is 12 years and inverter manufactures warranty is 10 years.
Do solar electricity systems require maintenance?
Solar panels generally require very little maintenance. They are very durable and should last around 25-30 years with no maintenance (apart from cleaning). If your solar panels are mounted on at least a 10 degree tilt then the rain and wind will wash and blow away the majority of debris. However, it is recommended that you check your panels during the year to ensure there is nothing blocking the UV rays from the panels as this will cause a reduction in energy output (eg bird droppings, moss, leaves). This is more important if your panels are mounted at less than a 10 degree tilt. To wash your panels simply use soapy water and a soft brush or cloth. The solar system should be turned off during the cleaning of the panels.
How long does it take to get a Guild & Spence solar electricity system installed after I order it?
We have a 6 week lead time from the date of receiving the signed contract and deposit payment until installation day. The installation time required can be anything from 1 day through to 3 days depending on the size of the system. If you are building a new house then our project manager will coordinate our install times with your builder's schedule.
Who buys back excess solar electricity?
Most electricity retailers will buy back any excess solar electricity sent back to the grid, but generally at a rate much lower than what you pay to import it from the grid. Because of this, it is much better to use the solar generated electricity within your home whilst it is being generated. It would pay to check with your current electricity retailer if they do buy back exported solar electricity and if so at what rate. Some Retailers also allow you to “sell” your excess solar power to nominated accounts if they are with the same retailer.
What is a hybrid solar electricity system?
These are grid-connected systems with batteries to store any excess solar power for later use. The battery storage enables more solar power to be used in the home rather than being imported from the grid, such as at night. Certain battery configurations can also provide power in outages or blackouts. The system is still connected to the lines which allows power to be drawn from the grid if required.
Do solar electricity systems require council consent?
If it is a retrofit (already established house) system installation then no council consent is required. If it is an installation on a new house build then sometimes councils will ask for information on the solar electricity system being installed but in most cases this isn’t required. Guild & Spence will provide this information if required.
Are there government subsidies in New Zealand?
Unfortunately the New Zealand government does not provide subsidies for people installing solar systems. Some councils are starting to do this so it would pay to check with your local council regarding solar subsidies.
How much extra load do the solar panels put on the roof and is additional reinforcement required?
The weight per panel including the mounting rail is approximately 25kg for the double glass frameless panels and 20kg for the standard black or silver framed panels. It is very rare that any additional reinforcement would be required.
Where are the solar panels and inverters manufactured?
Our inverters are designed and manufactured in Austria and panels are manufactured in China. Our panels are all tier 1 panels and are from one of the largest solar manufacturing companies in the world. Our inverters are ranked amongst the most recognised for their quality in the world.
Will my roof orientation and roof slope affect my solar electricity performance?
To some degree yes, however with most residential solar electricity systems being 10kW or less this doesn’t hugely affect the amount of solar generation. Typically, the more north facing the panels are the higher overall annual system production, however if the panels are west and east facing the system will start producing either solar energy earlier in the morning and/or later in the afternoon/evening.